Ugly Sweater Contest

Ugly sweaters are a rite of passage in Minnesota, at least they were in the neck of the woods where I grew up. I always thought the creator must have had the same problem with blindness as Monet in his later years and the brighter colors helped them to see. There had to be some reason, or there were a lot of color blind people walking around.

Surviving the ugly sweater day in middle school when you forgot to put your clothes in the laundry room was pure agony. The only thing standing between you and a job as a circus clown were the tennis shoes and braces. Those were the days, when I’d rather be pocket lint that stand up in front of the class and give a speech.

In life we need to be careful not to wear the ugly on our sleeve. We all have flaws that make us human, but wearing them like a badge of courage is a whole other thing. Just because we’re impulsive doesn’t mean we should let it excuse bad choices. Just because we are blunt doesn’t mean we should say hurtful things.

Wearing the ugly on our sleeve is so easy to do. It sticks out like a pickle in a French fry vat. It doesn’t belong. With Christ at the center of our lives, we try to be more like him and less like ugly sweater in our closet.

As writer’s we want to avoid the Ugly Sweater complex with our manuscripts. We don’t want its flaws to stand out in ugly threads of glaring colors.

How do you avoid Ugly Manuscriptitis?

*Edit to the best of your ability before hitting send.

*Have critique buddies review your work and make changes to improve your writing.

*Train in the craft of writing for a while before trying to market your work.

*Always, Always, Always spell an Editor or Agent’s name correctly.

*Follow submission guidelines for the place you are submitting.

*Be professional. Obnoxious and pushy conference or communication behavior will slap Ugly Sweater Complex all over you.

*Make sure you don’t mass mail your queries in a way that they can see it.

*Personalize each communication opportunity by addressing them by name.

*Don’t use God as a leverage point. For example, “God told me you were supposed to be my agent.”

*Don’t criticize others in the publishing industry in public places.

*Consider the wisdom from those further along on the journey when it is given.

What other tips do you have for avoiding Ugly Manuscriptitis?


About Michelle Lim

Author Michelle Lim is the Brainstorming/Huddle Coach with My Book Therapy Press and the Midwest Zone Director for American Christian Fiction Writers. Michelle’s romantic suspense is represented by Karen Solem of Spencillhill Associates and has gained contest recognition in the Frasier, the Genesis, and the Phoenix Rattler, winning the Genesis in 2015 for her genre. Michelle writes devotionals for The Christian Pulse Online Magazine and Putting On The New. Since her nonfiction book release, Idea Sparking: How To Brainstorm Conflict In Your Novel, through public speaking and online chats Michelle helps writers discover the revolutionary power of brainstorming to bring new life to their stories.

4 thoughts on “Ugly Sweater Contest

  1. One thing I’m trying to do is to wait a few days before I hit send. If I don’t, when I read back over my story, I see what I thought I wrote. But if I can give it a few days to cool, I see my mistakes easier.

  2. Michelle Lim says:

    Great advice, Pat! I’ve made the mistake of forgetting to do that before. You always regret it.

  3. Julia says:

    Hey Michelle,

    I’ve been enjoying your blog.

    I read my manuscript aloud. Really helps me to feel if it ‘flows’ smoothly. I also print it out in a different font. Helps to see with ‘fresh eyes’.


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